My Ketamine Infusion Treatment Experience
Jan 26, 2019
About 6 months ago, I first read about Ketamine Infusion as a treatment for depression, anxiety, and pain. While I’m leery of our societies knee jerk reaction to putting people on antipsychotics, I’m not nor ever been against responsible medication use. ‘Responsible’ being the optimal word. The statistics are clear that medications are not the cure and sometimes even cause more suffering. Yet, they also help many people. There is NO shame in trying whatever you need in order to find relief.
When I first read about ketamine infusion therapy, something inside jumped for joy. I don’t know why, but it did. As I began to study the various medical studies, as few as they might be, I grew more and more hopeful that this might help some of the people I knew were suffering daily with mental illness and possibly concussion-related mental illness as well. So I watched, waited, read, and even considered opening a clinic myself.
In a chance meeting, I was introduced to a professional who was also interested in ketamine. After that meeting, he called and asked if I could meet with him again. What he didn’t say was that he arranged for his good friend who happened to just open a ketamine infusion clinic in South Ogden which is my neck of the woods. When we met, I drilled this new business owner, Chris Weston, on everything his clinic, Therapy Reset, was doing and not doing. I wanted him to be a success. I was so impressed with him and his clinic that I started telling people about it.
Fast forward to 3 weeks ago. I received a call from a dear friend whose 18 year old daughter had overdosed and was in the hospital. I was shocked. I was invited to the hospital to see her. I love this young lady and had no idea she struggled with suicidal ideation. After visiting, I talked to her mom about ketamine infusion therapy. Because they lived so far from the clinic, I offered to have her stay with me while she did the ketamine treatments. Her parents felt good about it and so that’s what we did. The difference for this girl has been remarkable.
On to my story….
It’s my understanding that ketamine infused via IV drip heals the neural pathways that have been damaged from trauma, PTSD, stress, mental illness, and even concussion. No one seems to know exactly why it works but several professionals who have been treating patients for up to 10 years have remarkable stories with 70 – 80% cure rates. Yes, I said cure. This is not a lifetime treatment. In most cases, it’s a 6 treatment protocol over a 6 week period. Of course, there are situations were boosters have been required. The standard is six treatments with no reoccurring symptoms.
The University of Utah Hospital, a teaching institution, has used ketamine to treat some who visit their ER with suicide ideation. With a single treatment, the patient generally feels well enough to go home. They have charged somewhere around $700 a treatment. There is no evidence that 1 treatment is sufficient and so I find this irresponsible but share it to show that ketamine is being used by doctors to treat mental illness and ideation.
I decided I would do the protocol…..
I was a bit worried. I wondered why I was doing this. I thought maybe I was experimenting when I shouldn’t be but the minute my family practitioner wrote my referral, I started wondering if I truly needed this. Do you know how you feel when you’ve gone through a traumatic experience and feel alone when a friend shows up and you fall apart? That’s how I started feeling. I felt like the cavalry was coming. I realized that I had extremely efficient coping skills but I was exhausted. I have so much I want to do but also losing the desire to do anything. This scared me.
Losing Hannah to suicide, watching my family struggle, grieving, all of it has taken a toll. In addition, I understand how we create grooves in our brains – sorry for the lack of medical jargon here – that set our patterns. We come to expect and see what we expect to see. I see it all the time in others. They continually recreate the same issues in their lives. Usually, they blame others. Not only is it hard to change those patterns, but they are also extremely difficult to identify in the first place. If ketamine could fix that!?!?!?!? I definitely wanted it.
Thursday at 2:30, I found myself in ‘the comfy chair’ with my arms bared and a nurse anesthetist looking over my veins deciding which one to use. Once located, she started the IV. I was also hooked up to something that monitored my heart and breathing and probably other things I wasn’t aware of. They explained that everyone seems to have a slightly different experience. They warned me that I might cry or talk through the entire process without realizing that I was talking. I was excited. I wasn’t scared. I was open to the experience. It was either going to work or not. I felt safe with this group because I witnessed first hand
“You’re going to feel tingling,” they warned. Yep, I felt tingling and then slowly felt the inability to form words or even desire to talk. The room was darkened. The staff informed me they would be staying in the room. The sounds of the ocean were turned on and I slowly faded out.
I’m a Trekkie. The best way to describe what happened next is I slipped into a wormhole and went for a wild ride. It was loud. At one point, I was nervous and I heard two words, “Trust, relax.” Later, I confirmed that no one in that room said those words to me. So, I must have said them to myself. I must have listened to myself because I went on to have a wonderful experience. I continued to travel through what seemed to be space. At one point I questioned what reality was and if I had somehow left the earth. It was a twisting roller coaster of a ride with a light show. At one point, a dragon formed and starred at me. I just starred back and it left. At one point, I was aware enough to choose to float and relax. That was the highlight of the experience.
I had my eyes closed the entire time. I can see how some might be frightened. Ultimately I was not hurt in any way. I woke up slowly after 20 minutes of the actual ketamine treatment. It took about 30 minutes to stop spinning and be able to talk. Once I did, we spoke for a bit. Then, I got up and went home. The entire appointment took 90 minutes.
My instructions were clear. Go home and rest. I wasn’t allowed to drive home. Sure glad I followed those directions and had my husband there with me! There was no way I was present enough to drive.
At home, I laid down but I didn’t want to. Well, my body did but I felt so good emotionally that I wanted to get up and do things. I resisted and followed directions. I noticed the absence of any worry, anxiety. It was gone. I was happy. Not everyone has quick results but I certainly did. My head hurt on and off just a tad which I would expect. I questioned if this was just a side effect of being drugged. I was told that it took about 6 hours for the drug to completely leave my body. I drank a ton of water and just enjoyed the peace. I figured the next day would be the test. Then I fell asleep
The next day I woke up refreshed. I had the best nights rest I could remember in a long time and I had my trusty Fitbit to prove it! Straightway I got out of bed and got dressed. That was very different. I love my lazy sweats but always feel they represent my dowdy insides. I started laundry. I kept up my ketamine journal. Still no anxiety. No worry about anything, just action. And I was peaceful and happy.
As the day wore on, I began to feel tired. I started wondering if this was a temporary fix. And I noticed that those thoughts were a bit anxious. I spoke with the director of the clinic and he assured me that this is how it goes for most and that the first week can be a roller coaster of emotions and thoughts. I decided to let the experts direct me. I decided to trust.
I had a great day. I have to say, I was surprised by how good I felt. If I felt like that most of the time, what a difference! I sad part is that I had no idea how much I lived with anxiety. Yes, I have great coping skills. Yet, none that brought the peace I felt. Was I just high for a day? Maybe the first day but not on day two.
Day three – I can feel my brain slipping back to its norm. What the experts recommend is to act on what I want to do even if I don’t feel like it. I think what they are saying is it’s time to create and support new neural networks. I’ll follow directions to the best of my ability.
Today? Well, I’ll be tidying up my shirt category and taking those bags with my already 5 bags to charity.
Next session is this coming Friday. I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m hopeful.
****Please understand I am doing this medically in order to receive consistent safe product and have it medically monitored and documented. It’s a very small amount in comparison to what most recreational users are taking. I am in no way advocating casual recreational use of this drug. There is no way to guarantee the safety, purity, efficacy of street drugs. Please be wise in your healing journey. Self-medicating is self -harm. Please do no harm to yourself or others.
About the Author
Why did they choose to die?
If He Dies…
Got a desperate message last night from a person that helped me after Hannah's suicide. Her adult child has been threatening suicide for a...
Do I blame someone, anyone for Hannah's suicide? If we blame one person for anyone's suicide, then it opens the door to blame... across the...
Thank you for explaining that when you are getting an IV drip, you might experience a lot of emotions that first week. My sister has been thinking about getting an at-home IV treatment for some medical problems. I will be sure to save this article for her, so that I can know what to expect from her treatment.
I’m glad I could help.
Thank you for sharing your experience with ketamine infusions and how it made you feel the first few days after treatment. It’s good to know that the first week can be kind of an emotional roller coaster. My brother has been struggling with mental illness as well and has been considering different treatments. He will have to find a ketamine infusion center nearby, at least if he decides that’s the right option for him.
I hope he finds relief.
Please continue to research the effects of ketamine before taking anymore of this highly addictive drug. Like opioids the research is based on propaganda nonsense, because the drugs makers, investors, and doctors stand to make millions like they did with opioids. Ketamine is not the depression, PTSD, chronic pain miracle cure everyone is looking for, like any drug it will provide temporary relief, but as you noticed once the drug wears off you are back to square one. The efficacy of this drug has yet to be determined. This is predatory prescribing as has been the case with so many drugs. Ketamine has been around for years, but now with opioids completely out-of-control and under so much scrutiny companies like Johnson and Johnson, Janssen (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson), and Allegran are onto to their next cash cow. This is not about improving patient outcomes, this is all about greed.
Patients are “getting treatments they may not need or that don’t work, or they’re getting more than they needed,” said Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, psychiatrist-in-chief of Columbia University Medical Center. One of the biggest risks from the explosion in ketamine use, he added, is “people getting fleeced.”
Data from the drug’s trials shows it to be only slightly better than placebos in its performance. “The benefit isn’t much,” said Julie Zito, professor emerita of pharmacy and psychiatry at the University of Maryland, who cast one of the two no votes on the FDA advisory committee that approved the drug.
My sister started doing the ketamine infusions based on the recommendation of a pain clinic “doctor” and now she can’t even function. She is selling her prescription drugs to pay for ketamine infusions. She is going into massive debt, almost $5K a month to support this nasty habit. She can no longer work or take care of her two kids that are nine and six.
Also, my friend’s daughter died of a ketamine overdose in February, she too had two small boys who are now being adopted out-of-state and her family is devastated.
Being depressed is one thing, but not being able to have any sort of quality of life, to not function, to have no memory, to ruin your bladder and urinary tract, and to destroy motor function—is simply not worth it. Don’t fall victim to this terrible drug. There is more to life than living for a quick high.
Hi Mary, I’m very sorry to hear about your friends’ daughter’s death. Truly tragic. One of my great fears is the illegal use of any drug. Too often, people gain access to ketamine and other medications through illegal means. Those medications are often cut with dangerous, horrible drugs. Even if it was pure, it’s an anesthetic and can stop your breathing if used in excess. Again, I’m very sorry.
Ketamine is not physically addictive. It’s my opinion that it could be emotionally addictive and the need for physician monitored. It’s not an opioid which is why it’s a preferred medication for pain. It’s also an anti-inflammatory. There are so many legitimate studies proving it as an effective depression treatment – far more than traditional anti-depressants. I’ve supplied many links throughout my blogs to support my statement.
Ketamine used for pain is approved of by most insurances. So, there is more to the story with this lady who is selling other drugs. Again, I’m very sorry you’ve had so many sad experiences.
Esketamine is not ketamine. It’s a derivative isolated and patented by Johnson and Johnson as a means to capitalize on the obvious success of ketamine. I don’t expect the outcomes to be nearly as effective as ketamine.
Again, I’m very sorry for your friend’s loss and your loss too.
Laura – thank you for the info – I also did my 1st ketamine treatment 2 weeks ago and it was life-changing for me. The thoughts I had of not wanting to go on any longer were no longer there and I feel I actually have hope for the 1st time in years. I cannot express enough how important this new therapy can be for people suffering. This is truly a life-saving therapy. Having gone through where I was a few weeks to where I am today, no one will convince me or my family otherwise – they can’t believe the difference in me.
I’m so happy for you! Be sure to change your thinking habits. That’s how your nueral pathways were created. Use therapy or self help such as The Work of Byron Katie.
I will take that pain in the ass iv therapy anyday. I had about two more sessions of the IV therapy than that was required. I was ready to give up. But on the last day of the prescribed iv treatment I went home. It was a Friday Went to sleep on Friday, woke up on Saturday a normal day that I had been experiencing and than Boom that Sunday I woke up with the brightest day I have ever seem. Calm and experience beauty in everything. Absolutely amazing. couldn’t believe it . I was so happy and hopeful. Stated I would do whatever not to go back to the way I was. Depressed most of my life. Due the the cost of the iv treatment I could no longer keep up with the maintenance and found myself back in the same sinkhole I have been in most of my life. I have recently started with the spravato treatment. So very hopeful. But during the course of the treatment the 2 bottles lower dose did nothing for me. My meds were increased to 3 bottles per treatment once a week. I feel the feelings some of the time that I felt during the IV therapy but not all visits are like that. Sometimes I leave and have a few good days. Most times I leave with no results. I am more unhappy and stressed than I was before starting any treatment. To be able to get the treatment with a positive result finally and can’t keep up with it due to the cost is dishearting and depressing. I am more upset now than before with the hopes that this will bring me the relief I needed.
WoW! Okay, see if your provider will prescribe an at-home treatment. I use troches. Pronounced tro-kee. Don’t give up and make sure you get therapy. EMDR is wonderful. Retraining your brain is vital.
After suffering with major depressive disorder my entire life i am now 70 years old and had long ago given up hope of getting any lasting relief. I felt like I had nothing to lose by trying ketamine Iv. I think I now feel like human beings are supposed to feel but I wouldn’t know since I have always been depressed. I go back for boosters every 12 weeks. Mot everyone can afford it but hope ins companies soon cover it. For the first time ever, I do not feel that my only option is suicide.
I’m sorry for my slow reply. I’ll have to see why I’m not getting notices!
I’m excited for you!!!!
The future of nursing never looked brighter. What an encouragement to us older retiring nurses. Keep focused. Keep listening. keep learning. But most of all,keep caring. Good on you Bernadette.
Interesting notes on this blog. There are other remedies that are helpful. EMDR is great if you are with the therapist but not easily done at home alone. Thought Field Therapy is very good and can be done over the phone with the therapist or home alone. There’s also a need to recalibrate brain waves and this is rarely done. The standard protocol is drugging and many of the drugs have the side effect of suicidal behavior or violence and this has been documented. The greatest tragedy is that people seek medical care which on occassion worsens the symptoms. Psychiatric care continues to be based on a very questionable “science.” The leading edge science was recorded over 50 years ago by Dr Abram Hoffer (MD) in Canada. He of course was ignored by mainstream medical and pharmaceutical corps. William Walsh, PhD, is a good read and the Pfeiffer Clinics are quite good in terms of actually SEEKING the ROOT CAUSE rather than just placing labels and giving several different psychotropic drugs. There are BETTER ways but these are not found in the mainstream. Don’t give up, but find a holistic therapist and a functional medical doctor and that is a good first step IF you can find them. I’ve been practicing for over 40y and the stories and malpractice events are horrific. There is a better path, but it takes a very strong helper person in order for the one who is suffering to be able to tap into those resources. There is also the issue of insurance crookery. I could go on and on. Some of you have already seen this and experienced elements of it. There is a BETTER WAY.
Marie Green, DSW, Lcsw, BCD
Thank you. Your comments are spot on. I agree 1000% percent. I was more surprised than most that ketamine works and worked for me. It’s not a stand alone cure. It’s an aid to change the real issues. If you look through my website, You’ll find I’m far more ‘out of the box’ thinker than traditional.
I really appreciate your contribution here.